Day 15 – Something
or someone you couldn’t live without because you’ve tried living without it.
I couldn’t live without iron. I have iron-deficiency anaemia, and it can get pretty nasty. It’s the most common type of anaemia, but mine is a little strange. It seems that my body doesn’t store iron. Not only that, it has a bit of difficulty in absorbing iron in the first place. This means I have to intake more iron than the average person. Even more than most anaemic people. It really becomes difficult since, generally, I don’t eat red meat. I try to eat beef every now then since it’s the only meat I can stomach aside from chicken and turkey. I can’t eat beef everyday, so I supplement myself with spinach, apples, raisins, oatmeal, etc.
There have been a few times that my iron has been quite low. My iron level should be between 30 and 100, and the first time it dropped really low was when I was in university. I was extremely tired, had frequent headaches, found it difficult to concentrate, etc. Finally, I went to the doctor. After testing, the doctor told me she had no idea how I was able to stand up, let alone walk across campus to her office. My iron was at 4. Now the thing about iron is that it drops quickly, but it takes forever to build it back up. I had to visit the doctor every week, and she wasn’t pleased with how slowly it was increasing, especially considering the amount of tablets I was taking. I did all the little tricks like taking B12, and taking vitamin C at the same time as the iron supplements. Nothing worked. It became clear than my body was not responsive to the pills anymore. What did this mean? SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS! And not the fun kind.
Another time, when I was living off campus, I felt near-death. My mother called me one day, and just from the way I sounded, she became upset. She called my grandaunt and asked her to call me and see if she could figure out what was going on. Eventually, my great-grandmother and dad were calling me too. They all decided that I sounded awful. My mother later said that I sounded “like you didn’t have another minute to live!” Somehow, I made it to the hospital where they discovered that my iron was low AND my blood sugar level dropped (probably because I had no energy to make myself anything to eat.) I got iron shots, and IVs. It was great. My great-grandmother, mother, and father all hopped on a plane and travelled 9 hours to get to me. By the time they got to me, there was nothing left to do but wait for my iron level to go up. They sat with me day after day as I stayed curled up on the couch, covered by blankets. (With my iron so low, I was always freezing.) My dad force-fed me various things including beets (Yum!) and Guinness (YUCK!). He literally FED me. And HELD DRINKS WITH STRAWS for me. Carried me around. Even things that tasted good, I didn’t feel like eating or drinking. I can’t really describe the feeling of complete weakness.
That was the last time my iron has ever been that low. I don’t know what the level actual was, but I know that I need not ever feel that way again. Since that experience, I found an amazing product that’s all natural and keep my iron where it needs to be. A little every morning, the right combination of vitamins, and iron-rich food in every meal, and it’s smooooth sailing. Most of the time. I snack as much as possible during the day on things like yummy mixes, apples, and fruit snacks with the occasional sweets (to keep the sugar up and maybe give me some fake energy). I also drink VitaMalt when I think my meal may be a little lacking in iron-enrichment.
So, yeah. I need iron in my life. The snacks and food I’ve mentioned and the magic liquid iron probably save my life daily. I DID try living without, and I ended up quite… Lifeless.